The Charlotte News

Sunday, March 19, 1939


Site Ed. Note: We maintain the other three editorials of this date, previously added, here. (Incidentally, since we added them five years ago, we have come to believe very strongly that Cash wrote "A Frog Plays Ox", though at the time we had some measure of doubt. Given other editorials plainly written by Cash which we have run across in the meantime on the Hague issue and other kindred Bosses, we feel confident that this one was, too. Besides, there is that puffed up allusion on the hoof to Aesop again.)

For its mild questioning of Frank Porter Graham, "There Is A Doubt" may not be by Cash, but we include it as it calls up an issue which, while it would largely languish through the war years until the late forties, it would become in another decade an emotional lightning rod in the debate between Federal authority and states rights, when orders to desegregate state supported institutions of higher learning began, followed finally in 1954 by Brown v. Board ordering desegregation of public schools, which in turn precipitated 17 years of court battles, many times spilling into the streets, especially in the deep South.

And remember, Patriot, of the 55 attendees to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 which issued the Constitution to the states for ratification, thirty-nine signed, including Spaight and Blount of N.C.; sixteen did not sign the document; of these, six refused to sign, stating their reasons for so refusing; of those, one was George Mason of Virginia.

So, Spartans, tan good his hide today for not signing with us.

Out Hops the Cat

Young Senator Ralph Gardner from up in Cleveland County (O Max's son, and a bright one) poked fun Friday at the Democratic conferees who want to abolish the absentee ballot in the June primaries but keep it in the November elections, so as to go quietly on frisking the dratted Republicans. And proposed--that it should be done away with altogether? No such thing. He proposed that it be restored in the primaries, so far as the Tar Heel jobholders in Washington are concerned. It was not nice, he said, to disfranchise the poor--that only the rich can afford the trip down to vote in person.

But that, of course, is an argument that holds all around. It would be nice if all bona-fide absentees everywhere could vote. But unfortunately, experience has shown that a law providing for that simply lays the way open for theft. And one opening is as good as a dozen. Our guess is that the practical effect of what he proposes would be simply to concentrate the inhabitants of Tar Heel cemeteries in Washington.

In the end, the young man let the cat out of the bag. The boys, he said, better be sure of those Washington votes for there may be a situation in the national election of 1940 that will be surprising. What that mysterious situation may be we can't guess, but we do gather that it is something the established Democratic powers in Tarheeldom won't like. And there, of course, you come right down to a candid admission that the real reason for the absentee ballot is to keep those established powers established.

The Cash Registers Ring

Income tax collections have not fallen off so much as had been feared either in Washington or Raleigh. It is too early to tell yet with any certainty, but early tabulations show that Federal returns are running about 25 per cent behind last year, whereas State returns are not off at all and nowhere near the 20 per cent Mr. Maxwell had estimated.

Mr. Maxwell, in fact, is ringing his till much more happily than Mr. Morgenthau, and there is a reason beyond the depression for the disparity. Federal tax laws have been changed almost every year the New Deal has been in power. They were changed last year--not by the New Deal, but by Congress, in bold defiance of the President's will, on the theory that the undistributed profits tax was unsound and oppressive.

Perhaps it was, though we always said that the undistributed profits tax was excellent in principle and unsound only in application. But right or wrong, it produced tax revenue. It forced corporations to distribute their earnings to stockholders in whose hands they might be subjected to tax rates running up to 79%. With the abandonment of all but a vestige of that coerced distribution, and a return to flat corporate tax rates patented by the late Andy Mellon, the Treasury has had revenue in greater proportion than the decline in business volume.

There Is A Doubt*

Reports the Associated Press of Dr. Frank Graham's speech before the North Carolina Educational Association at Raleigh last week:

The University President denied that Federal aid would interfere with religious and racial conditions or violate states rights.

"Where we have a great concentration of wealth in one part of the country and a great concentration of children in another, the only agency under the American system that can redress the injustice is the Federal Government," Dr. Graham asserted.

Well, there's a good deal of truth in that argument, we believe. The South, with 28 per cent of the national population, gets 13 per cent of the national income. And moreover, it has about a third more than its share of the school children, because of its greater birth rate. On the other hand, the East has a share of the national income all out of proportion to its population, and it has the smallest proportion of school children of any section in the nation. More than that, the wealth of the East is undoubtedly in some measure due to the exploitation of the South, in part at least through the agency of the Federal Government, as in tariffs, freight rates, etc. Hence, it would be no more than poetic justice if the same agency were used to aid the South in the education of its young.

Nor do we suppose that the Federal Government is ever likely to use its power over the schools to interfere in such explosive business as the religious and racial questions in Dixie. Yet and for all that the fact does remain that the Federal Government does invariably assume to control wherever it aids--to lay down absolutely the rules under which it will contribute and to make those rules so extensive that control is really centered in Washington. Maybe in the case of the schools it would all work out for the best. But the matter at least calls for careful consideration and is not, we believe, to be so easily settled as Dr. Graham settles it.


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